From the CDC (Centers from Disease Control): “The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919. In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.”
The coronavirus that lately has been spreading throughout the world may be somewhat less lethal, but it’s disruptive effect may be even greater. The world’s population is now five times what it was a century ago. I learned last night that the great 1918 pandemic subsided over the summer. For many, it appeared to be going away, just at Trump assured Americans that this one would go away, but there was was a resurgence of it in the fall, and it proceeded to take its terrible toll. If this pandemic takes a similar course, it could bring about a global economic depression. We are in the position of prairie dwellers who see a tornado bearing down on their house. It may miss it and it may not.